Lawyers in Dechert’s London office have been accused of holding meetings to come up with a “cover story” for how the firm obtained a cache of hacked emails that were used to win a lawsuit against Iranian airline tycoon Farhad Azima.
A High Court heard that Neil Gerrard, Dechert’s former head of financial crime, put key witnesses through a “mock trial” in a boutique Swiss Hotel to help private investigator Stuart Page and journalist Majdi Halabi construct a false a story to explain how they came across Azima’s emails.
The false meetings were held with the aim of misleading a court by claiming the cache of stolen emails had been obtained legitimately.
The case comes after Azima sued Dechert over claims that Gerrard organized the theft of his emails to use in a 2016 lawsuit against the Iranian airline magnate, which saw Azima forced to pay more than $4m to UAE sovereign wealth fund Rakia, over fraud and bribery allegations.
A London court found Azima bribed Khater Massaad, the head of the sovereign wealth fund belonging to the Emirati city of Ras Al Khaimah. Azima has claimed that Dechert instructed Indian hackers to steal his emails, which were then used by the Rakia sovereign fund to win the lawsuit.
Laura Newton, a lawyer working on behalf of Dechert and Neil Gerrard, said her clients “deny the new and very serious allegations against Mr Gerrard in the strongest possible term”.